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Blaine county sees multiple avalanches after heavy snow

Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-10 19:23:38-05

HAILEY, Idaho — On Friday, multiple avalanches fell in Hailey causing a damming of the Big Wood River.

At least four houses have been impacted by the avalanches and experts are expecting this issue to continue through Saturday.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center has placed Hailey, Ketchum, Bellevue and others in the Wood River Valley on a level 5 extreme risk alert.

Since the beginning of March, the area has seen multiple feet of new snow. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office is asking people to avoid areas that are at risk of avalanches.

“We are just recommending that everyone simply avoid all avalanche terrain. That means even flat terrain at the base of steep slopes around town, walking trails, roads, or structures that are underneath large mountainsides are also at risk,” said avalanche expert Ethan Davis with the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

10 to 15 feet of snow has been reported blocking the Big Wood River, causing floods in the city of Hailey. Major roads through Blaine County have closed and reopened throughout the region.

Experts say the dry February that Central Idaho received, along with the surplus of new snow, is the main cause of these avalanche risks.

“We really didn’t have that much snowfall in February, however the first ten days of March, so far, have obviously. We have laid down several feet of snow in the surrounding mountains here and a couple of feet of snow around town. That new snow just really isn't well to the older snow underneath, causing a lot of the avalanches we are seeing,” said Davis.

Before traveling in the area, be sure to check for the most updated information on road conditions and closures.

For more information on current avalanche risk levels, click here.